In Defense of the Darkling

In Defense of the Darkling

 

*cue the crickets and me getting awkward stares*

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OK, OK, confession time… I do this really weird thing where I often put up my defenses about a certain fictionalized character with a bad or semi-bad rep, and act like I’m trashing them, when deep, deep down, I secretly have a bit of a crush on them. THEN the crush emerges eventually, full steam ahead, and part of me feels like I need to recant every single, stinking thing bad I’ve said about them. I mean, one part of me’s going,

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Whereas the selfish, boneheaded, kinda dark and kinda “I want whatever I want” persona (aka my Id/Subconscious that I CONSTANTLY need to keep under a deadbolt, lest all havoc break loose) has a reaction that’s more like,

babiesgif

(I’m guessing you probably did NOT see that coming, on MY blog, of all places…)

It ’tis the sad, sad, newly exposed truth that I do indeed have this inner war embroiled inside of me, when I should be giving all of me to God, the One Who made me and loves me dearly. But then my inner fangirl kicks in (especially with darker, more enigmatic, more sympathetic characters like the Darkling and N from Pokemon), and there’s usually very little you (or I) can do to stop the current from flowing.

So what do I do?

justkeepswimming

…. But again, I digress. (I tend to do that a lot, in case you haven’t already noticed.)

Anywho, so today Imma show some sympathetic love to one of my favorite villains of all time (and who Alina totally does NOT deserve to have), Mr. Darkling, himself (who no one at this point can totally tell that I’m slightly obsessed with 😛 ).

No, I am not going to make a list, as much as I adore them, because the Darkling is too cool to have a list. Instead, I’m going to give you just some general feedback to why I think people ought to be more sympathetic. In a human, moral, Christian way, of course.

Don’t get me wrong here, I am not at ALL condoning his actions. I’m not denying he has done some pretty horrible things, like killing/torturing (certain) people, in a very Machiavellian way, BUT I am also not denying that he is a VERY human, and obviously very broken character. We humans ALL struggle with sin and our inner guilt (some are more obvious than others). The biggest concern I had for the Darkling was his pride; it’s the greatest of the Seven Deadly Sins, and there is some merit to the old saying, “pride goeth before the fall”. That, and the fact that basically he was corrupted by political power– that just confirmed my conservative Libertarian beliefs that political power corrupts pretty much any human being it touches, even those with the best intentions (and believe me, the Darkling started with good intentions. He just wanted his people to be safe, be cared for, not hunted like wild animals, and showing that they were just as useful to their country, if not better. Not a bad motive to necessarily start with.). But even the Darkling must have realized at some point that the whole power thing was going to drive him nuts with corruption eventually, and it seems that, deep down, he DIDN’T want that. Therefore, he decided, a balance was in order. Similar to our “checks and balances,” so one side of the system doesn’t go all hog-wild power-crazy.TeamDarkling

That hopeful balance’s name was Alina Starkov– the Sun Summoner. Like, literally, she isn’t just a political balance, but a natural balance, as well. The light to his dark. The yang to his yin. The jelly to his PB. You get the idea.

So, we have a broken and beautiful guy, who wants a balance so he’s not outta control, is incredibly lonely even for a Grisha (since he is nearly one-of-a-kind in his abilities) and just freaking WANTS A BUDDY (not just another almost brainless follower, a buddy, an equal) TO LOVE AND BE LOVED. I mean, he’s been feared and fought over for his power his WHOLE FLIPPING LIFE, with the only known love reciprocater being his Mommy Dearest, who goes around smacking people around with her stick whenever she feels like it, and who also egged him on in his pride. Sheesh. No wonder the poor guy’s got issues to begin with.

That also brings me to the first of two theories. See, during the general trilogy, the Darkling, like most Grisha, holds a kind of general distrust, wariness, and overall personal superiority over otkazat’sya, or normal people who AREN’T Grisha. But why? I mean, I get that Fjerdans burn them as witches, Shu Han carve them up because they believe their blood/organs to be magical or whatever, and the Kerch sell them as slaves, BUT… here’s my main point… NOT all otkazat’sya are like that. And I think at one time, he may have realized that. You see, in Bardugo’s “Demon in the Woods: A Darkling Prequel Story,” it is revealed that, when he was an awkward young teen (yes, it IS hard to believe, but bear with me on this, please), during his temporary shelter-hopping life with Baghra, they come across a Grisha camp around the Fjerdan borders. There, he kind of befriends a young Tidemaker, Annika, and her little otkazat’sya sister, Sylvi (think six or so years old). It is implied that Sylvi might be the GT’s version of Harry Potter’s squibs. But she neither hankers for the Darkling’s power, like her sister eventually does (which forces him to kill her in an act of last resort self-defense), nor is she terrified of it. Instead, she is fascinated, enjoying touching the inky darkness that pools from his hands, and almost looks up to him in a sense, pretending to be Grisha after he saves them from cruel bullies, specifically one like him, saying that she wishes to “learn how to do that.” The Darkling actually seems pleasantly surprised at this, like this is the first time it’s happened. Sylvi surprises him even further by inquiring about his likes and dislikes, such as his favorite colors and foods– evidently, no one’s ever bothered even asking him before, or getting to know him at all. But, sadly, it is unlikely the two ever saw each other again after the Annika and Lev incident, where the two tried fighting over him, to kill him for his amplifying power– and both getting cut down, literally, themselves. Still, it begs the question of why he prefers Grisha to otkazat’sya. 

However, if we look at his conversation with Alina about them, we may find answers. At one point, he questions her “taste” for otkazat’sya, asking if it was because she thought at one point SHE was one; she fires back with a question of her own, asking if he’s always held disdain for them. He answers that he doesn’t disdain them exactly, but understands them to the point that he knows they will die off much sooner than long-living Grisha, and their minds are easily turned against them. This, along with Bardugo’s clever slipping in of Alina wondering how many people he has mourned in his long, long life, if that number included any friends, if at all, or even a wife. So here’s my theory:

He had an otkazat’sya friend he was very, very close with, perhaps even a girlfriend or a wife/lover. Maybe he was like Alina with Mal, only for an otkazat’sya girl, and knows, deep down in his heart, that it didn’t work out. That she grew old and died, and he kept living, and that realization shook him to the core. But I think the same appeal of Sylvi would have stuck with him; they wouldn’t have been able to use his amplifying power, after all,  unless they were able to capture him and sell him off to the highest Grisha bidder to be killed. Who knows? Perhaps Sylvi stayed in touch with him somehow, and they were able to still maintain and grow in their friendship (he would’ve had to keep the truth of his sister’s death a secret, though… Although, now that I think of it, maybe that’s what happened. She learned the truth, grew to hate him for it no matter what he said in his defense, and left him all alone. #FANFICIDEA).

So, he’s in a predicament. He feels he can’t trust otkazat’sya at this point, obviously, but he’s always under fire with fellow Grisha, because if they so much as brush against his arm/hand, they’re sure to feel the surge of power within them, realizing he’s a living amplifier. Between that, and wanting to rule the world (or at least Ravka and the surrounding countries) for the sake of his hunted people who some of which may want to kill him (as well as various kings and otkazat’sya assassins) , he needs a plan. An associate. Someone he can be himself around, start to trust and gain confidence in, an equal in power, who can sit on the dais next to him.

Again, enter Alina.

The primary problem with her is, she’s already crushing on a guy– an otkazat’sya, Mal. Who in my own opinion is not worth the bat of a lash. (I mean, c’mon, if she so much as mentions the Darkling and tries to confide in him in the hopes of him supporting her, what does he do? He brawls with Grisha, sometimes drunk, sometimes not. He goes and kisses Zoya. Then he gets drunk on kvas when Alina needs him most, practically passes out because of his non-commitment and “I couldn’t care less” selfish attitude, and WHO shows up to support her, instead? I repeat, WHO? That’s RIGHT— THE DARKLING!!!!!…. Who, BTW, to make her feel better even comes in to be with her LOOKING like Mal, to help ease her distress, to a– albeit slightly creepy–degree. OK, OK, personal rant over.) So he’s willing to forgive/overlook more betrayal on her part, but is very willing to kill Mal to get what he wants, and feels he needs (not simply out of vengeful jealousy). Alina is one of the rare people who even remotely looks at him for who he is as a PERSON, but is usually torn between that, and all the crimes he commits because she runs off and leaves him, half the time thinking of him as a monster. This is a confusing, contradictory, double-sided, and incredibly hurtful way to to think of someone. It takes very little imagination to realize what he must have felt.

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In short, the Darkling is an incredibly powerful, immensely lonely, beautiful, broken person who is desperate. Desperate for a companion, desperate for love, desperate for his people, desperate for power, but also desperate to control himself– knowing he can’t do it by himself. If he were real (and this situation might or might not get awkward eventually), I would seriously be tempted to just HUG him, BECAUSE SO MANY FREAKING FEELS (That probably would not end well. At the very least, if he didn’t use the Cut, he’d probably get an Oprichnik to peel me off him.) . I’ve been there before, been so lonely and depressed it’s nearly killed me. If I was that devastated in just a few short years in early high school, I can barely imagine what it would do to a 120 year old Grisha, give or take a few years. It’s surprising he’s held up even that well, honestly, especially considering he doesn’t believe in God.(Which also kills me, but hey, Bardugo’s a secular author, so what can you do?)  But maybe that’s the reason he let Alina (spoiler alert) stab him at the end.

Another surprising fact or two about him: He has a big sweet tooth (yaaaaaasssss), and no, his favorite color is NOT black, but rich reds, deep blues, and a golden-ish yellow, like sunlight (another bonus of being Alina’s possible friend).

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Anyways, that brings me to sum up with a final thought and a theory: No matter what anyone thinks of him, the Darkling is still very much a HUMAN character. He does horrible, terrible things, yes, but really– what or who PUSHED him to sin? We are all born with a sinful nature, yes, but usually there’s a bit of a trigger, an instigator or two. As I’ve shown, the Darkling had at least a few possible instigators. And again, I’m certainly NOT condoning any of his horrific crimes (though we would do well in remembering he often chooses to make empty threats to get the job done, as well as legit threats that he does follow through with), merely pointing out that he’s a broken, but very human, sinner.

Now to the theory, the most infamous GT of all time…

The Darkling may have faked his death, and put a substitute corpse on his pyre, similar to Alina. 

While there is implication his death *may* have been genuine (Bardugo has stated that some certain deaths in her books were very much permanent, although we should note that she DID NOT SPECIFY), we would also do well to recall that this is the Darkling we’re talking about, with AGES of experience in faking his death under his belt. Besides, we don’t know who it was who arranged “his” body on that pyre, to make it look so nice, etc. for him. Whoever it was must have cared about him, or at least feared/respected him, to a degree. Additionally, Bardugo mentioned in a separate interview that, to quote Nikolai in the instance of him possibly having survived, that it was only IMPROBABLE that he survived, and NOT impossible. But, between that and her earlier quote that certain deaths are permanent, it is honestly hard to know which to believe… So if I were to ever meet her in person, you’d BETTER believe I’m going to ask her that!

Also, we should recall the infamous, very hyped up quote about the Darkling, via Siege and Storm, “Darkness never dies”. 🙂

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Image Credit:

http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/the-grisha-trilogy/images/37781820/title/team-darkling-fanart

https://www.tumblr.com/search/yes%20i%20would%20have%20his%20babies%20gif

http://www.reactiongifs.com/picard-facepalm/

https://giphy.com/search/wrong-with-me

Pinterest– the Darkling and the Grisha Trilogy

Pinterest– lbardguo–Fan Art and Swag!

 

Reasons Why Attending College is Like Attending Hogwarts

Reasons Why Attending College is Like Attending Hogwarts

I hope you guys don’t mind, but one thing I’m going to be doing a lot more on my blog is posting not only more reviews, and more story posts, but also more random, fangirl-y posts. These often will be quite sporadic, so keep your eyes peeled… Because you never know when my inner geekette may zap the internet next…

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You know how I was talking a while back about how Hogwarts houses can actually directly correlate to certain PokeDex Holders from Pokemon Adventures? Well, a few months ago, my roomies and I were talking HP, since we all like it, know about it, and one of said roommates is a MAJOR Potterhead. (We’re talking totally geeked-out Hufflepuff. In a kinda good, very… interesting sense. LOL) Another one of my less fangirl-y roomies mentioned how, despite Hogwarts have middle school to high school aged kiddos in it, most real middle and high schoolers can’t really relate to Hogwarts. Much. Whereas in college, or university, you get the much fuller sense of being at a place similar to Hogwarts. And the more I thought about it, I thought: She’s right.

And then: That idea totally belongs in a blog post. 

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Sooooo, without further ado, I present to you, all of the ways that we college/university kids are like Hogwarts kids!!

  1. Sorting/Departments. OK, you can’t EXACTLY call declaring a major “Sorting,” but in a sense, it comes pretty close. Even during the Sorting process, the hat often takes into account the wearer’s wishes and personal preferences, so even if they’re indecisive, it helps them to decide. Once their house is picked, so is their dorms, their table, and who they will, for the most part, have classes with. Don’t get me wrong; at college/university, majors of ALL shapes and sizes share dorms, lunch tables, SOME classes, etc. But English Literature Majors discuss the great works of Shakespeare with fellow English Lits, Writing, and English Education Majors; Chemistry Majors work on blowing things up with other Chemistry Majors; Marketing and Business Majors converse and conspire with one another to get you to buy things– you get the general idea. Even though you’re not forbidden (obviously) from making friends outside your major (for instance– I’m a Writing Major, with two Engineering Major, and one Student Ministry Major, roomie(s).), you tend to gravitate more towards the people you have the most in common with, the people you’re most likely to see in very similar classes a LOT. Granted, we all take Gen Eds, so you’re bound to run into people you wouldn’t normally see, but for the most part, it’ll be familiar faces. sortinggif
  2. The Head of Department/ your Adviser is essentially the same thing as a Head of House– in a way, at least. Think of having Professor McGonagall as your adviser, or Head of Department. Now THAT would be amazing. (Not that you aren’t already the bomb.com, Dr. Williams 😉 ) mcgonagallgif
  3. Speaking of which, in both colleges/universities, AND Hogwarts, you call teachers by “Professor,” rather than “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, “Ms.”, or “teacher” (the last would be incredibly awkward to call a professor/teacher to their face, whereas you can call a professor just, “Professor,” and they will still likely respond– unoffended. ). 
  4. In colleges/universities, as well as Hogwarts, it is often students’ first real experience in living independently. Visiting the surrounding towns/cities on weekends? Check. Staying in with friends/roomies? Check. Learning how to be an independent adult? Check. Doing homework almost constantly? Check. Getting involved in future- beneficial clubs and a host of activities to keep you busy? Check. HPfriends
  5. Branching out and meeting new people from different areas, different walks of life, or even the world. Ron and Hermoine were from different parts of the country than Harry; it was unlikely that they would’ve met at all if Harry had not to Hogwarts. The Patil twins are from India, and Cho Chang is implied to be Chinese. At my own college, we have a somewhat racially diverse group– I’d say about 75% white American, 25% other. The “other” includes blacks, Malaysians, Koreans (or a few Korean Americans 😉 #Molly), a New Zealander, and even a Japanese student or two. I’ve heard Spanish been spoken a few times by those fluent in it on campus, as well some Asian languages. Simply fascinating.great-hallgif
  6. You can often (though not always) discuss controversial topics with professors, without getting shut down for it. Harry was able to discuss the Chamber of Secrets with his, and many professors (though there are a good bit, unfortunately, who tend to shy away from such topics due to political correctness– happened to me with a secular history professor at a local community college.) are able and willing to discuss religion and politics… two pluralistic no-nos in high school society.snapegif
  7. You’re treated more like an adult. Even at Hogwarts, sometimes younger kids are given big responsibilities. At college, you are given these responsibilities and are expected to act on them as an adult.

Are there any other ways you can think of Hogwarts being like college/university?

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Image Credits:

You can now enjoy a magical Valentine’s Day dinner in the Hogwarts Great Hall

https://giphy.com/search/harry-potter

http://www.viralshack.com/tumblr-love-praise-for-professor-mcgonagall/

https://www.tenor.co/view/sorting-hat-harrypotter-gryffindor-hogwarts-gif-4929271

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=204317430

http://wallpapercave.com/harry-potter-desktop-backgrounds

Veronica Roth’s Latest Makes Its Mark

Veronica Roth’s Latest Makes Its Mark

 

 

… Literally.

OK, I promised you guys some reviews of some of the new books and movies I’m going to be reading/seeing, and it’s high time I made good to you on those promises. I am a girl of my word.

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So, predictably, this first review is about Roth’s latest work, “Carve the Mark.” As per usual, there will be a substantial amount of SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW, so do NOT READ THIS if you’ve NOT read the book, and do NOT want to be spoiled. You have been warned.

Overall, I think Roth set the bar a little TOO high with her debut trilogy, “The Divergent Trilogy,” because “Carve the Mark,” fell slightly short of, well, HITTING said mark (if you’ll excuse my punniness.). That is not to say that I did not enjoy the story; it’s just not as good as the Divergent trilogy, is all. The story’s atmosphere had a Star Wars-y touch to it, like futuristic tech, planet-hopping while scavenging for useful goods (cough… Rey and jawas… cough…), a cruel dictator who seems to be related to one of the protags, etc. They even have their own version of the Force (no, I am not pulling your chain), called “the current,” that many of the peoples in this universe seem to revere or even worship. All this I can easily appreciate, without acknowledging she might’ve swiped an idea (or two) from George Lucas or even from the author of Shatter Me (my fellow book reviewer and good friend said the two sound quite similar in concept). There was also a predestination theme I thought some of my more Calvinistic friends would be appreciative of; every person in the universe has a specific Fate. Some of the Fates are not as always as they might appear, but they, combined with the current-wielding characters, are ultimately the driving force behind the plot.

So, while I won’t be spoiling EVERYTHING by revealing the WHOLE plot (I’m assuming that you WANT to read this book, if you haven’t already, and don’t mind spoilers by this point), I will be giving insight into what I thought Roth did well/could be improved. Here we gooooo…

Cons/What could have been improved:

  1. Some of the explanations were a little vague, and hard to follow at times. Sometimes, I would not fully grasp things until a bit later. But maybe that’s just me. It IS, after all, the author’s job to SHOW, not tell. It’s just I think there is the occasional time where they need to be more apparent, more explicit, in their showing. Of course, there are times (such as suggestive scenes) where I am quite satisfied with being spared all the explicitness, and just have a general impression that “such and such” happened, without knowing details. But some things are vital to the story, like organs are to a person’s being. While it may be good to not reveal everything at once, and thus keep your reader reigned in with some sense of mystery and suspense, when a clue about the mystery is dropped, you don’t want to be so vague that it almost entirely goes over their heads (again, maybe I’m just that oblivious, as per usual. But hey, maybe I’m NOT the only one…). Some vagueness is good, as long as it’s not overdone.
  2. Who’s the real villain? A lot of the time, it’s very obviously shown to be Cyra’s dictatorial older brother, Ryzek. And for the most part, I would agree with that. However, about halfway through, up to the end of the novel, I would also call Sifa, Akos’s mom, pretty manipulative. And not always in a good way. She’s an oracle, and can see all these Fates, all these possible futures, similar to Seth in Ted Dekker’s In the Blink of an Eye. Like Seth, she is able to manipulate people and events by what she does, and what she tells them, to her liking, so whichever future she wants to happen will happen. It makes me wonder if she has an ulterior motive or two in mind, and if Roth is going to write a second book that details that….

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3. It moves pretty slowly throughout, with more of the action being placed at the beginning and ends of the book. Granted, this is how a LOT of books roll, so I can’t entirely criticize this; however, I will readily admit that much of the slowness of the plot, especially in the middle, along with some vagueness, genuinely made it tough to keep going, keep trudging through. Granted, now I am very glad I have, but a LOT of the plot twists and climatic point were kind of shoved together at the end, like several atomic bomb droppings that you really, really had no idea were coming, no implication of whatsoever. I mean, yes, you know a certain character *might* die. But that’s really, for the most part, the only real implication you actually get. If spread out slightly more evenly (naturally, you WANT the REALLY gripping stuff for last), it will keep people reading, and less tempted to give up siding in the quest alongside the protags. Keep it rolling, Roth, keep it rolling, and you’ll have us ALL in your snare. You are a talented writer. This is too important for super-slow middles.

akos

Pros/What was done well:

  1. The romance. As we all know, there has to be a certain degree of romance for me in a good novel that SUPPOSEDLY has a bit of everything in it– what I like to call, “a buffet novel”. Too hot on the romance, and I start to feel sick-ish, like I ate a truckload of Peeps, and feel the need to immediately stop the story and close the novel, to lose the attention the author’s worked so hard to gain. Too cold, too distant, makes me think the romance unbelievable and inauthentic, and just not cut out for the story– in fact, the story, in this instance, may just be better off if the romance WERE cut out, period (and I have a high tolerance for non-romantic stories too, especially if they’re adventure/fantasy.). I have a special, happy medium, sweet-spot that few authors have succeeded in hitting with me. Roth, in this novel, has actually succeeded in hitting that mark, almost exactly. Akos and Cyra meet due to his being captured, and, since his Fate is to serve the family of Noavek (which, now that I think about it, makes for an even BIGGER possible plot twist at the end… #futurebetrayal?), he ends up having to be a servant to her. Now, hear me out, it’s a bit like “Beauty and the Beast”: Cyra’s the kind of cruel captor, and her currentgift is to cause herself and others (when she touches them) pain, via thingies called “currentshadows”. Her brother uses this ability to torture his enemies, etc, but the fact that his sister is incapacitated by it herself (rendering her essentially useless to him) he uses Akos’s currentgift, the ability to stop the flow of current/others’ currentgifts via physical touch, he gives Akos to Cyra as a servant. No, they do not do things together; initially, he is just for pain relief, but since he’s literally the only person she can touch without hurting (as well as her newfound friend and sometimes confidant), their relationship soon blossoms. It’s beautiful, but subtle. And it’s truly remarkable how they work together, how they would do almost anything for each other. Yet, their romance is NOT the main point of the book; it does NOT take it over. This is the one thing CTM does well, in where Divergent failed. Roth is getting better at this part of the writing game. 🙂

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2. The currentgifts, and almost anything current-related. Basically half the stuff in this world (spaceships/shuttles included) run on the current. Special talents and powers are gifted through the current; what is interesting is that not all are beneficial. It’s interesting because normally when we think “superpower” we DO think, “beneficial,” like, “Oh, it’d be cool to fly or turn invisible, or have super strength!” We don’t think of the consequences of those powers, such as perhaps setting everything we touch on fire if we’re pyrokinetic, or, in Cyra’s case, causing her and everyone she touches excruciating pain. Roth develops a fascinating idea here. When you give a sculptor clay, they take it, and mold it into something beautiful after playing with it a while. When you give a word artist words and an idea, who knows where they’ll take it.

3. The plot twists. OH MY FREAKING,FLIPPING GOSH, ALL THE PLOT TWISTS AND CONSPIRACIES. Namely at the end, it leaves you drooling for more. Why and how did Lazmet Noavek survive, and if so, why is he no longer on the Noavek throne? What of Cyra’s heritage? Akos’s future loyalties? What does Sifa intend to gain by manipulating the future? Is Isae truly the real chancellor of Thuvhe? What was Orieve Benesit’s currentgift? All these questions, mostly burning in me due to the ending, are causing me to strongly suppose there will be a second installment, and this will not, repeat, will NOT be a standalone story. There is more here than meets the eye.

My rating: Overall, I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Needs a bit of work, but with possible improvements, it could truly be morphed into something great.

cyragif

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Image Credits:

http://www.pinterest.com (for “Carve the Mark”)

http://sassynicos.tumblr.com/ (warning: inappropriate content; this is just where I found Ryzek’s pic when on Google Images)

http://www.thefandom.net/books/watch-striking-book-trailer-veronica-roths-carve-mark/

 

http://www.epicreads.com/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-carve-the-mark/

Houses Meet Kanto Dex Holders!

Houses Meet Kanto Dex Holders!

Hi, everyone!!

So, it’s been a while– and I mean QUITE a while– since I’ve actually done a fun, non-sermony, non-book or non-story related post. A day or two ago, a fun blogging topic encroached on my mind’s atmosphere, so I figured, why the heck not? (Besides, need to unwind before mid-terms anyways, so it’s a win-win for everyone. 🙂 )

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Sorting in Harry Potter’s wonderful wizarding world, and how we as human beings like to order/categorize things. Houses in HP. Factions in Divergent. Districts in The Hunger Games. Then I made another connection. A direct correlation, actually (for my unusual brain, anyhow.).

The colors and personality attributes of each Hogwarts House correlates almost perfectly with four of the main protagonists, from the Kanto region, in my beloved Pokemon Adventures manga. I am not kidding you; it is craziness. Aside from the characters having the same names as colors, they also share the persona quirks, as well. You probably do, too, in fact. Here, I’ll show you:

  1. Gryffindor–Red.

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If you are a Gryffindor, chances are likely you’re like Red. Red is noted by his Trainer title, “The Battler,” and is well renowned throughout the entire Pokemon world for not only being the Kanto Champ, but for mostly single-handedly taking down the boss of Team Rocket, Giovanni (aka the Mafia of the Pokemon world). That takes serious guts and strength, and if Red’s not the type of person to display that kind of courage, I don’t know who is. He often thinks quick on his feet, and is highly curious. However, he is a very loyal friend and will ferociously defend his close friends, allies and innocents from incoming threats, as seen his defending Green when she was attacked, and her parents, kidnapped. However, like Harry the Gryffindor was also prone to the”dark side” and had a fear of being sorted into Slytherin, Red also had a brush or two with the “dark side” of the Pokemon world– namely, Giovanni. Red has a stubborn, reckless, impulsive and very determined streak that happened to impress the crime boss on several levels. Giovanni actually made a bet with him, stating that based on the outcome of their battle (in the first arc), Giovanni would either leave Virdian and the rest of Kanto alone (if Red won), or Red would join Team Rocket… as his lieutenant (if Giovanni won). Red bravely took him head on, and the result was that Team Rocket was temporarily disbanded (before moving onto the Johto arc, GSC).

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2. Ravenclaw– Blue.

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If you are a Ravenclaw, chances are you have a thing or two in common with Blue, aka “The Trainer”. Typically calm, cool, and collected, this young man has known Red since the beginning of their Pokemon journey together, and has taught him much, while being taught plenty in return. His nature and maturity he most likely inherited from his grandfather, the famous Pokemon researcher, Professor Oak. His intellect, resourcefulness, and strategic manner make him an incredibly formidable opponent. He has managed to out-think foes on more than one occasion; however, his intelligence and experience can cause him to become haughty every now and then. Despite this, thanks to Red and other characters, he has moments of humility where he realizes and acknowledges that there is still much to be learned. The Leader of the Virdian Gym, he has a fairly well-rounded team, and usually has the best-trained Pokemon battle for him in his stead, while he is normally away– this being an abnormality, since battles usually require both battling Trainers to be present in order to command their Pokemon. (Yes, he’s THAT good!) He only took the position when Red turned it down, however.

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3. Slytherin– Green.

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Don’t let that pretty face fool you– Green’s more cunning than she may initially let on. Ms. Green here actually made her debut chapter in– get this– scamming Red of his money, using her charms, cunning, and natural beauty. Talk about a Slytherin. This isn’t all her fault, however, as we learn that, like Slytherins being closely associated with You-Know-Who, Green was actually kidnapped at age five (by a legendary Pokemon, no less) and was raised to be one of the most powerful members of the Neo-Team Rocket, by dual agent NTR Leader/Gym Leader (Pokemon in general has a penchant for Machiavellian villains, on occasion.), Pryce, before choosing to escape with fellow Dex Holder Silver (who is one of the Johto Dex Holders and is also a Slytherin.). However, despite her slyness, she, like Red, is fiercely loyal to her loved ones, and will go to great lengths to protect them, such as Silver or her parents. She is even mature to the degree that she had to learn how to live on her own and make her own living by age eight, shortly after the Great Escape. However, she is not beyond using tricks or lies to scam people or get her way; she has used her Ditto to disguise herself as someone else on numerous occasions, her Jigglypuff for quick aerial transport (rather than use a regular Flying-Type Pokemon) and in the first arc, tried to sell fake functional Pokemon items to many people, Red included. Even when she gradually matures in later arcs, and the Masked Man’s (Pryce’s NTR Leader undercover name) influence over her has nearly entirely waned, she still showed cunning in a stealthy slight-of-hand, swiping one of Ultimate Move Teacher Ultima’s Move Rings, without her ever being aware of it until much later. She tends to keep more private things to herself, such as her background, fear of birds, and personal motives/quests, unless she deeply trusts such person.

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4. Hufflepuff–Yellow.

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Now, Yellow and Hufflepuff are NOT last because they are the “least important”. Quite the contrary, actually– Yellow actually gets an ENTIRE arc to herself, and becomes a pivotal character in the GSC chapter. If you’re in Hufflepuff, you are liable to get on well with Yellow. Sweet, diplomatic, hardworking, naive, trusting yet trustworthy, and very loyal Yellow. She deeply admires Red, ever since he saved her from a rampaging Dratini in the Viridian Forest, and has the special “gift” of healing Pokemon simply by touching them, hence known as “the Healer.” She hates fighting in general, and prefers to pick her battles carefully. However, if need be, if she is angry or in distress, the Pokemon around her will sense it and instantly grow much more powerful, rushing to her aid in some situations. Initially, Green told her to hide her identity as a girl while looking for information on the initially missing Red (a well-assumed fan theory that ships Green and Red states that Green told Yellow such because she didn’t want competition, and Yellow has a bit of a crush on him…Red, being unaware of this at the end of the Yellow arc, jokes at one point that they should all just “live together,” causing Yellow to blush furiously.), while giving her special feathers (the Silver Feather and the Rainbow Feather, respectively) that are key to summoning the legendary bird Pokemon, Lugia and Ho-oh, for safekeeping.

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So there you have it, folks! Now the only questions that remain are…

Which house are you in? Which Kanto Dex Holder are YOU most like?

 

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Image Credit:

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1093&bih=510&q=Pokemon+adventures+red&oq=Pokemon+adventures+red&gs_l=img.3..0l10.685580.690641.0.690795.23.23.0.0.0.0.213.2857.2j18j1.21.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..2.21.2840.0..35i39k1.LW3B37OMMko#imgrc=DVqtFxMDwzxxcM:

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1093&bih=510&q=Pokemon+adventures+red&oq=Pokemon+adventures+red&gs_l=img.3..0l10.685580.690641.0.690795.23.23.0.0.0.0.213.2857.2j18j1.21.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..2.21.2840.0..35i39k1.LW3B37OMMko#hl=en&tbm=isch&q=Pokemon+adventures+blue&*

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1093&bih=510&q=Pokemon+adventures+red&oq=Pokemon+adventures+red&gs_l=img.3..0l10.685580.690641.0.690795.23.23.0.0.0.0.213.2857.2j18j1.21.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..2.21.2840.0..35i39k1.LW3B37OMMko#hl=en&tbm=isch&q=Pokemon+adventures+green&*

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1093&bih=510&q=Pokemon+adventures+red&oq=Pokemon+adventures+red&gs_l=img.3..0l10.685580.690641.0.690795.23.23.0.0.0.0.213.2857.2j18j1.21.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..2.21.2840.0..35i39k1.LW3B37OMMko#hl=en&tbm=isch&q=Pokemon+adventures+yellow&*

Sun & Moon: The Anticipation Builds

Sun & Moon: The Anticipation Builds

So we’re officially less than a week away from the Pokemon Company’s 20th Anniversary game release: “Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon.” This post is gonna be mostly speculation, fangirling, and reviewing the game in what we’ve seen so far. If you disagree with any of my points at any time, or think something else, that’s fine; comment and we can chat. I love discussing these things with fellow fans (when I really should be cracking on homework. LOL).

That being said, many of the trailers look awesome, although I’m not quite understanding the marketing concept/appeal concept behind things like Z-Moves. Mega Evolution (yes, I am a young Earth Creationist still; I always bear in mind that Pokemon is FICTION, as is macroevolution.) had at least a purpose, a point. Are Z-Moves like Signature Moves, that only certain Pokes can use? Or something completely different? Are we ever going to see the return of the Megas, or any new Megas? Overall, Z-Moves haven’t got me completely sold out; it seems like they’re just scrambling to try to connect something in the game to Zygarde, since they failed to release a “Pokemon Z” (the reason a “Pokemon Z” was in high anticipation, BTW, is that Pokemon X and Y were the first main series games to come out for 3DS. And if you know anything about 3-D, you’ll know there are 3 rays: X, Y and Z. Go figure they’d use it as a theme.). They need a hefty explanation to pair with these moves if they wanna impress me, is all I’m saying.

Now, onto the Trials. I’m not quite sure how they’re run, or what you get for completing them; all that I’m aware of is that they’re the replacement for Pokemon Gyms, which, to a staunch traditionalist like me, is basically the Pokemon equivalent of BLASPHEMY. (Not kidding here.) Gyms have literally been around since before I was even BORN, when Red and Blue first hit the Gameboys. How do you collect badges to ensure that your Pokemon will obey you up to a certain stage, or are they watering it down for newbie kid gamers? Do they really think that running around collecting items instead of battling will make your pokes stronger? Are the Kahunas supposedly the “Leaders” or are the “Totem Pokemon”? Can you catch a “Totem Pokemon”? It’s all rather confusing and I’d really love clarification.

Speaking of clarification and longing for something, Imma start switching back and forth between the good and the bad a bit. One big thing that’s slightly confusing but is something I’m very much looking forward to interpreting is the story line, particularly the story behind Team Skull, the Ether Foundation (who CLAIMS to protect and provide shelter from Pokemon who’ve had it rough from T.S.), and Lillie. Here’s the BIGGEST theory I’ve wrestled with: I think Ether’s in cahoots with Skull, for several reasons: Skull appears to have no real motives (other than being dangerous, trouble-making hooligans); most companies in the Pokemon World (i.e., the media of X and Y, the Devon Corp. in RSE ORAS, and the infamous Silph Co. in RBYFRLG) are all either endangered by a villainous team, or are somehow associated with them (in Silph’s case it was both– several Silph workers converted to Team Rocket and betrayed their coworkers.); Lillie wears pure white, as do all Ether employees, and is shown in a trailer next to a Cosmog (known pre-evo of legendary Lunala) and the player; Lillie’s hair and eyes, however, are strikingly similar to those of a particular Team Skull member: Gladion (which makes me think he’s either her brother or cousin. Pokemon peeps do that allll the time; if someone looks vaguely like another, they are typically related.). Which makes me all the more suspicious.

So here’s what I think about Ether, Lillie and Skull: I don’t know their motives or goals as of yet, but since Ether is personally investigating Cosmog/Solgaleo’s pre-evo, I’d stake my life on the fact that THAT’S the Poke Lillie is desperately trying to conceal in her bag, and that they’re after the legendary Pokemon (most likely for classic “world domination” reasons, but you can’t rule out blowing up the world, expanding sea/land, brainwashing everyone into releasing their Pokes, etc. You never know…). But why? Is she a Skull defector? Ether defector? Is she working undercover for Ether under hot Prof. Kuikui’s tutelage because she wants to learn more about the legendaries for them? (The site itself said she was working for him due to “personal reasons,” as well as stating she would have a key role in the story.) I didn’t watch any YouTube spoilers, thankfully, but I did see a pic of Ether’s President, Lusamine, surrounded by a jellyfish-like Legendary in a dramatic pose, mostly likely pulling a “Zinnia” or an “N”, depending on the situation– but probably calling on it to aid her, which could go either direction (good or bad side.). I don’t know about you guys, but to me, I’m getting quite the “Zinnia” or “N” vibe here, from Lillie, as well… I feel like she’ll either appeal directly to the legendary on the side of the player to fix a prob, like Zinnia, or be naive and misguided by Skull/Ether, manipulated into doing something with the legendary for them, like N with T.P.

All in all, I really, really am praying that this is all a good sign from heaven that we will finally get ourselves a decent story since Black and White. (Although, I’ve been wrong about Colress from B2W2; I recall thinking he was gonna take Juniper’s place in handing out starters, then do this huge reveal about his being a part of TP. Nope, just got right to this latter.)

Next, the Alolan forms. Basically, long story short, Kanto Pokes came to Alola, and adapted to their new environment, thus changing their appearances dramatically. (What I DON’T see, interestingly, is them changing Raichu’s form but NOT Pikachu’s… go figure. 😛 ) Some of them are OK (Exeggutor), some are awesome (Ninetails, Marowak), some I just wish they’d left the heck ALONE (Raichu, Persian and Sandshrew. It’s called SANDshrew for a REASON, people!!!). Here’s the problem with suddenly altering all the classics: this babies have literally been around for decades. Literally. Two. Freaking. Decades. These are the classics that have first appeared in Pokemon Red and Blue, that started this whole snowball rolling. If you dramatically alter Pokes that people have grown up with and known since kindergarten or even earlier, guess what? Abnormally bad reactions, that’s what! That’s like telling Lecrae the awesome Christian black rapper to suddenly make the switch to classical music only; it’s too unreal and too unbelievable. These Pokes have their set types, let them BE. (Regardless of what I think of the now-more-gorgeous Ninetails, you CANNOT make my Vulpix into a Shirley Temple model. I love Vulpix, and I love Temple, but when you combine the two and slap on an Ice-Fairy typing, it is pure HERESY.)

The Return of Pokemon Amie. OK, I’ll admit. I’ve long been a sucker for the idea of “Pokemon meets Nintendogs”. So when X and Y came out, I naturally HAD to be able to pet and feed my Pokes. ❤ This is taking it a step even further, only they call it, “Pokemon Refresh” now: You can not only pet, play with, and feed your Pokes, you can brush them, groom them, wash them, heal them up close. Wonderful, wonderful stuff. I just cross my fingers that they will NOT take “Cosplay Pikachu” any further, though….

The new Pokes. They honestly probably could’ve done better in this department; this is one of the rare instances that Imma say I really, really wish that GameFreak took the designs for new Pokes that fans often send them more seriously (yes, it’s that bad in some ways.). I’m already seeing a Burmy/Shellos thing going on with Oriocorio and all its different forms, as well as Minior. Tsareena and Crabrawler are both clearly spin-offs of Lilligant and Corphish, respectively. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few I’m excited to have on-team: Mid-Day Lycanroc (FINALLY, a REAL wolfish Poke!!!), Komala, Drampa, Stufful, maybe Mudsdale, Morelull (hate its evo though), Passimian, and perhaps Lunala (because it reminds me of the Darkling, but that’s another story.), but other than that, I’m #TeamRowlet, and that’s basically it. (Can you tell I’m a sucker for cute Pokes?) So far, this Gen isn’t doing too much for me, Poke-wise, although I’ve noticed that there’s been an increase in Fairy-types (yay!), but also a few creepy Pokes added (Salandit, Mimikyu, Sandygast, Palossand…. Boooooo…. literally….)… Also, is it just me, or are there more legendaries this Gen?

THE RETURN OF TRAINER CUSTOMIZATION!!! Words cannot simply describe my excitement, although I cannot name my character after me (since there will be an important NPC with my name, I will be naming her the female name of what my twin would’ve been called, if they’d been born a she.), I can still tailor her appearance to my whim. I can’t wait; it looks promising. Hopefully they’ll have even more ops than X and Y.

Unfortunately, there is no Pokemon League. Say WHAT?? Well, yeah, what’d you expect from a few lil islands that obsess over dumb Trials instead Gyms (Leagues require Gym badges to partake. Standard rule, you need all eight.)? Granted, you are still able to witness, I’m told, the START of a new League (great– we have to wait another year), but in the meantime they have something called the Battle Tree (which, I’m assuming, is a poor consolation for there being no League.). The very title takes me back to White 2, where they have the White Treehollow, a battle arena that takes you deeper and deeper into the arena until you finish battling everyone (same with Black Tower in Black 2, only it’s the highest point.). I feel like this is a spin-off of that. One major consolation, though, is at the end, you get to battle…. *dramatic drum roll, please….* LEGENDARY TRAINERS BLUE AND RED!!!! AND THEY’RE OLDER!!!!  (Red is no longer his tweenage-self, but his cute, silent but deadly, 20-something self. So mature and handsome and gaaaaahhhhh…. ❤ *fangirls*)

One last thing to note is that, depending on the game you get, as well as obvious version-exclusives (which every main series game has had– I’m getting the ones I want from the other game from my brother, as I’m too poor to afford both games, LOL.) events may turn out differently for you, as well as it being standard time in Sun but 12 hours ahead/behind (nighttime, in short) in Moon, during your daylight hours. Pretty cool, huh? (Naturally, since I’ve never played during the nighttime, and have never really gotten the “female” version games, I’ll be getting Moon, but I do like more version exclusives in Sun…)

I will be getting my copy of Moon ASAP this upcoming Friday, and will be vlogging about my experiences with my good friend (and YouTube book vlogger) Macy (aka, itsabookthing) and possibly with my kid brother. I will be posting this experiences on my Facebook, since I do not have (nor do I really want) a YouTube account. If you are interested in seeing these, mention something in the comments.

Anything you guys noticed/are anticipating with the new games? If so, sound off! 🙂

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Image Credit: http://www.cathrecords.com/

 

The Grisha Trilogy– A Review

The Grisha Trilogy– A Review

Having a frequent craving for fantasy, action and adventure stories (with just a TOUCH of romance), I was looking forward to reading something new and gripping this summer, and consulted my one dear college friend, regular book reviewer, extremely avid reader, fellow fangirl, vlogger and overall wonderful person, Macy, on which series I should tackle next; she suggested the Grisha Trilogy, which is filled with climatic scenes, fantasy, nearly-magical, matter-manipulating Grisha, and of course more frequent– cough– “shippers’ scenes” (as I so affectionately call them.).

While the series had more romance-y bits than I had anticipated, I still for the most part enjoyed the series, with a few personal annoyance hitches once every so often, and even got two of my besties back home hooked. While I had serious doubts about the series initially (WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER ZONE UP AHEAD!!!!), it mostly evened out towards the end, and gave at least a partially satisfactory conclusion.

When I first started the series, unlike most (average) readers, I could not sit still. I was genuinely anxious, because I felt like I was constantly comparing her works, published and popular and usually GOOD, to my own, which are still a work in progress. But once I was able to sit back and relax a bit, I found myself enjoying the actual story, while not liking other parts as much. Here’s what I thought, overall, about the Trilogy:

Cons (I make it always a habit to get these outta the way, so they don’t ruin the good):

  1. Portrayal of faith.  Ms. Bardugo, the author, has a curious way of superstitiously objectifying faith, hope, and even love in ways I find to be at least fairly despicable. God is not mentioned at all, only people praying to/idolizing “Saints,” people who may not have even been believers in Him at all but simply miracle-workers who were killed in some gory manner JUST because they performed miracles– and some of those miracles may have even been considered “abominations” (cough… Morozova… cough…), even by the book’s standards. Faith, especially in book 3, “Ruin and Rising,” is often displayed in cult-like fanaticism, which isn’t true to ACTUAL faith at ALL. Bardugo herself stated that although she was born in Jerusalem, she considers herself superstitious in some ways; this makes me wonder what her religious beliefs are (if she has any at all), and if these beliefs could very possibly be affecting her writing. We shall see what she says, if I ever get the chance to ask her that….
  2. Acceptance of immoral lifestyles. Although there’s nothing TOO explicit (I’d wring her sorry neck if it was otherwise), there are many, many references to sleeping around (i.e., the Darkling and female Grisha, Mal and several pretty young women), homosexuality (in “Ruin and Rising” only), blending some good and some bad together and calling it fine (granted, I both agree and disagree with her decision to avidly write good and bad in her protags; she states that no one is wholly good or wholly evil, which is something I’ve obvious mixed feelings on…), etc. What gets my goat is that both Mal and the Darkling get annoyed/ angry with Alina, the protag, for falling for the other or Nikolai, but still see absolutely NOTHING wrong with sleeping around like prostitutes themselves…. and then Alina proceeds to be the only one who seemingly feels guilty about having even remote feels for the other guy. Ugh, MEN. *heaves big, frustrated sigh* ( OK, minor rant over, LOL.) The homosexuality and her sneaking in highly leftist propagandistic themes (most LGBT ones) are the primary reason I will NOT be reading one of her more recent books, “The Six of Crows”, which is said to have even more of “sexual orientations” in it.
  3. The bad guy being SUPER obvious at the beginning of the story.  Really, Ms. Bardugo? You expect us NOT to believe, at the very beginning, that a character legitimately titled, “the Darkling,” who can summon darkness, can slice a live man in two without batting an eyelash, and kidnaps a young woman seemingly for “the good of the country,” ISN’T up to something?? Up your game, girl.
  4. Often gets you to root for the LAST said guy you SHOULD be rooting for… ^ I actually kinda wrote an entire article sort of about this, a while back. While I give Ms. Bardugo kudos for making him detailed, multi-layered (in a way), with an enigmatic personality that keeps you guessing at times, it makes you really think, “Does she actually WANT me rooting for the bad guy? I mean, we see all the horrible things the Darkling’s done, all the people he’s brutally murdered, tortured, etc, and we STILL want him to basically take over Ravka and win over Alina?” We’re aware that she confessed in an interview with her editor that in fact she wanted to make him a cold, ruthless dictator that simply oozed charisma and seduction, stating that she wished to make a villain you couldn’t just dismiss; however, she admitted she was genuinely surprised to hear even one person say that all the Darkling’s actions were perfectly defensive, despite all he’d done, because his motives were at least somewhat good and he loved Ravka. Bardugo confessed that even with those as semi-motives (power-hungry motives aside), he shouldn’t get a free pass on murder and torture because of it. And yet, looking back on her creation, and how/why she created him, I can’t help shaking my head and thinking, “You brought this on yourself, sista.” 

Pros:

  1. The DETAIL. The biggest thing that impressed me was the detail in her books; the descriptions were all so deep and VIVID– especially physical descriptions, character descriptions, and even animal descriptions, but emotional ones, too. She set the scene in a land similar to tsarist Russia, and, for the most part, I think she out-did herself describing it all.
  2. Detailed, often multi-layered, unforgettable characters. Speaking mostly protags and antags, Bardugo’s got the gift for this too, I’ll admit. The Darkling has easily become one of my favorite-of-all-time antags, having an obvious love-hate thing for him (it got to the point where I caved in to buying a body soap that smells like him and a poster with his symbol on it off of Etsy. I think I’ve gone off the deep end. Officially.). I can really, really relate to Alina a good bit, despite belief differences, especially the parts where she feels insecure about herself and her powers, when she feels different from others, and how she feels towards the Darkling is similar to my own feelings, on some different levels (although I wanted to crack her across her head for naively falling for his game so soon, so early in the very first book. You do not get into big, black carriage and go with Mr. Creepy to the Little Palace. You do not become his little political pawn of a princess that he can dress up, parade, and use to whatever his liking. You do not– Oh, why am I bothering when she does it anyways? 😛 ), namely in “Siege and Storm” (book 2). I like Genya a lot, too (she and David are so cute, being potential opposites:3 ). I also am a big fan of Nikolai; I positively ADORE his charmingly scheming demeanor, his bantering with Alina and/or Mal, and all of his wonderfully quotable moments. I love his two powerful, yet moving personas: Pirate (or, as he prefers to be known as, “privateer” 😉 ) and prince, as well as the sporadic and oh-so-charming way he proposed to Alina in “Siege and Storm” and the comical conversation that follows shortly afterwards. I think he’s my other, secondary G.T. crush. Ms. Bardugo herself called him one of her favorite characters to write, along with the ever-bratty, stuck-up Zoya. A well-picked favorite, if I do say so myself.
  3. Plenty of action, adventure, and climatic scenes. The ones that got me are when (more spoilers!) Alina protected the stag in “Shadow and Bone;” the scene and confrontation in the chapel at the end of “Siege and Storm,” and the hunt for the firebird/realization what/who the real third amplifier is. The series is also not lacking in comical scenes, from Nikolai to Alina and Mal’s bantering.
  4. THE GRISHA. Think similar concept to ATLA benders, only… different. The Grisha are magicians of sorts; they can manipulate matter that’s already there whilst making it LOOK like magic (It’s called, “The Small Science”.). For instance, an Inferni can’t be like a firebender and summon a flame, they need combustible gases in the air, along with a flint to strike a spark. There are three orders: Corporalki (Healers and Heartrenders, who normally wear red kefta– special coats only Grisha are permitted to wear), Etherealki (Summoners– Tidemakers, Squallers, and Inferni. They all wear blue kefta. The Darkling and the Sun Summoner, Alina, also fall under this category because they can summon darkness or light, but are also in a different category all their own; the Darkling of course wears a black kefta, whereas Alina’s kefta color varies.), and Materialki (aka Fabrikators, separated into two groups: Durasts and Alkemis. Purple kefta.). Healers can heal wounds together almost seamlessly, Heartrenders can mess with people’s hearts– literally– and slow their heartbeats to put them to sleep or squeeze until it stops beating altogether (scary, I know.). Tidemakers, Squallers, and Inferni can all summon and manipulate the elements around them to their advantage, respectively ( water, wind, and fire). Durasts can manipulate solids, such as steel, rock, etc, while Alkemi specialize in poisons and liquids. Genya is a Tailor, a special type of Grisha who’s a cross between a Corporalki and a Fabrikator, but instead of making clothes, she can literally REMAKE your face (nifty for disguises), such as erasing freckles/acne/wrinkles, making your eyes a brighter/darker color, or changing your hair color. (Hence the reason she’s kind of vain.) Me? I’d love to be a Squaller… give myself “air boosts” when I run, to make myself feel like flying… air cushions beneath me in case I fall or something… blow-dry my hair quicker…. :3 #perksofbeingaSqualler

 

Welp, those are my thoughts overall on the series. 🙂 Feel free to comment and discuss if you’re a fan or if you’ve read the G.T. too, and let me know what you think! 😉

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Image Credit: http://lifeofabookwormbyninaeudora.blogspot.com/2015/09/review-grisha-trilogy-leigh-bardugo.html

To Suppress Or To Cave In?

To Suppress Or To Cave In?

Lately, I’ve almost been having what you might call a “Me Crisis”. Not quite there, but almost. It’s one of those fights that you fight with yourself, with half of you wanting to do something, really wanting to do it, and the other half obstinately resisting that desire.

The fight is almost like those little characters in the Disney-Pixar movie Inside Out, only, instead of being named after individual emotions, they are named for my particular personality traits, or rather, they encompass certain aspects of myself. If something conflicting, confusing, or desirable comes up, they basically play tug-of-war until someone wins. Allow me to introduce the key players that are now permanently stuck inside my brain, being the way I’ve coped with the world since I couldn’t write/vent as much as I used to be able to:

Emoti, aka Emotional Side of Me. She is my ditz. My impulsive ditz. My impulsive, romantic, immature, irrational, loud-mouthed and often bratty ditz. She is my high-functioning autism on steroids, and I often have a challenge in controlling her; however, she is also responsible for any joy, excitement, and passion I feel (cough… fangirling… cough…), so she isn’t a TOTAL brat 100% of the time. (This is probably why she hasn’t been locked up, like a certain someone else inside my head… but I’ll get to that one later.)I often picture her as a smaller, giddier, more excitable, entirely blossom pink version of me inside there.

Sensi, aka Sensible Side of Me. She is my conscience, my mother hen when my folks aren’t around, whatever you wanna call her. She’s the one who usually prevents me from doing stupid things, or berates me when I do do them, and also keeps a tight leash on both Emoti and the other certain someone inside my noggin. She is my intelligence, my logic, my maturity (yes, when I try I can be mature thanks to her), my realism, my common sense (when I choose to use it), my big, caring heart (and any selflessness I might have within me), my altruism, and sometimes, my courage. She is more the embodiment of my Christian beliefs and virtues than the other two. I picture her as me with a ponytail, a hooded sweatshirt and jeans, calmer and more collected, and with a golden-ish yellow hue around her.

Certain Someone Else Inside My Head– aka My Subconscious. Probably the most dangerous part of me, this part is always kept under lock and key, and strict surveillance, by Sensi. She is basically Emoti’s worst qualities times 10, is inconsiderate, selfish, immoral, lustful, cruel, has no control over herself whatsoever, etc, etc, etc. I don’t wanna say it, but she’s kinda pretty much the “deeper, evil, sinful” part of me, aside from Emoti, who only embodies it on a smaller scale. Minus the horns and the pitchfork. (LOL) She has wild hair, leery eyes, and a emerald-greenish hue around her, and is almost always locked inside my small mental cage, and buried deep, deep within the recesses of my brain, where I hope and pray with all my might that she never, ever escapes. Unfortunately, sometimes her influence will seep out and either a., affect Emoti and tempt her to unleash Subconscious, or b., affect me directly and tempt me to do something completely out of line, whether it be immoral, weird, cruel, or something you would not at all do in a social situation. To my knowledge, there are only two known ways of unlocking her, and I’m really not big on either idea (but, knowing MY luck, there’re probably MORE ways…). Think of her as Yakumo Kurama from Naruto’s  “Ido,” if you will. Not the best influence, and someone you definitely want to steer clear of.

…. Now, you’re probably wondering, why am I bringing all this up? Well, recently I’ve been reading a semi-popular fictional series known as “The Grisha Trilogy” by Leigh Bardugo– just finished the first installment, “Shadow and Bone,” in fact. (Spoiler Alert, if you haven’t read it yet– if you don’t want to be spoiled, then turn and run away while you still can!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!) One of this story’s main theme’s, other than literal darkness, to my surprise, was that the protagonist, Alina, was like me. Not just in persona, but in have inward struggles with her own version of MY Subconscious. And, not gonna lie here, it was SCARY similar.

To understand all this, I’ll give you a brief summary of the plot (hence, the major spoiler warning beforehand): Alina Starkov and her friend/ childhood crush Mal are orphans and are drafted into their country’s military, Mal as a soldier for the King’s First Army, and Alina, as a cartographer. They attempt to cross the Fold, aka the Unsea, created by the Black Heretic many, many years ago to separate them from the regular sea and is filled with horrific monsters called volcra. They are attempting to cross the Unsea for resources on the other side while aided by the mysterious Grisha, magicians of sorts that can manipulate matter to their will while making it look like magic. They are attacked viciously by volcra, and, in an attempt to save Mal, Alina unintentionally wards off a volcra by using a power unknown to her: she can summon and create light. When she wakes up she is taken to the Darkling, the leader of the Grisha/ Second Army (which, his name should puh-ritty much divulge ALL you need to know about the guy… Mark my words, NEVER trust someone w/ an obviously dark title/name, a pretty boy face, and chock-full of power.); the latter investigates to see what she really is, and, upon provocation, manages to force her into exposing herself by cutting her, the light coming out as a defense mechanism. She is then taken to the Little Palace, where the Grisha stay in the kingdom of Ravka, and is trained in the way of the Grisha Summoners, since she is a special and unique Sun Summoner, of the likes that no one else has ever seen. The Darkling in particular pays special attention to her on at least a couple different occasions (much to some of the other female Grishas’ jealousy), telling her his supposed goals and wishes for the future, strongly desiring her to help him achieve such goals. On two of these conversations, he kisses her, and very nearly manages to seduce her in the second. Shortly after the second, she is confronted by Baghra, the Darkling’s mother and Alina’s personal tutor, who is heavy-set on Alina fleeing due to the Darkling being the Black Heretic and lying to Alina all this time, only wanting her power for his own selfish gain– to take over the country.

….Imma stop there before I give too much else away, and because I stopped close to making my point. When the Darkling seduced Alina, while a part of her was confused about she wanted and mildly resisted, a part of her also strongly desired it (thankfully, the description the author gave didn’t go past almost- intimate caressing or I would’ve a REAL bone to pick with her… If you’ll excuse the pun.). And I’m pretty sure you can guess which part of me was secretly dancing and even swooning for the ever-good-looking-yet-lying-and-manipulative Darkling all that time.

Later on, Alina, like me, realizes that though that desire is a part of her, choosing to resist and rebel against it and against the Darkling’s future advances in the first book (much to Subconscious’s disappointment and Sensi’s relief.) is the wiser, better option. But the book opened my eyes to something: how our Subconsciouses, our “Ids,” as Wikipedia calls them, can manipulate dangerous, sinful desires of our fallen hearts into actuality if we aren’t careful. And though, thankfully, I’ve NEVER experienced what Alina experienced with Mr. Creepy (I instantly got an “Orochimaru/Chase Young” vibe when I first read about him, I’ll put it that way. And that, no matter HOW many people swoon over the dude and wish him and Alina in a relationship, his actions speak infinitely louder than his words– cutting a man in half in front of Alina’s eyes, slitting a beautiful stag’s throat without hesitation or remorse, oh yeah, and when he’s not caressing, cooing to and making out with Alina he’s threatening to kill her and Mal. Yeeeeeppp, sounds like a real lover-boy… Not. More like lust-boy.), it’s good to know my struggles aren’t just mine, and I can and will resist those wicked, subconscious desires buried deep within me.

I’ll close with a quote from both Mother Gothel from “Tangled” and the Darkling himself (they’re amazingly similar.):

“You want me to be the bad guy?  FINE! Now I’m the bad guy!”– Mother Gothel to Rapunzel, “Tangled”

“Fine, make me your villain.”– The Darkling to Alina, after she thoroughly resists him.

Yes, you are the villains. Glad we’ve made that clear to everyone.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, but the evil I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Romans 7: 15-24, NIV

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21, NIV

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